A detailed analysis of the structure, characters, themes, imagery, and symbolism of Hayden’s most popular poem, “Those Winter Sundays.” In addition, the handout provides activities on the metrical and sound devices used in the poem, including hand-on work with scansion, alliteration, consonance, and assonance.
Through these exercises your students should come away with an awareness of how the smallest aspect of this textured poem is important. Doing the activities in this handout alone or in small groups should also improve their understanding of how to explicate other poems on their own.
In the last section I have provided additional commentary not in the student handout about “Those Winter Sundays” and Hayden, some of which you may decide to incorporate into your class’s discussion of the poem. For instance, some may not know that the sacrificial, totally devoted father in this poem is based not on Hayden’s birth father, whom he never knew, but on his foster father.
My handout, which has blanks which your students can fill in, is suitable as an in-class activity or for homework. An Answer Key is provided on two separate sheets at the end of the handout.
Prepared by Professor William Tarvin, Ph.D., who has published many articles on literature in scholarly journals.